«NASA CONTRACTOR REPORT 177459 ^^2MMVN1CATION TRAINING FOR AIRCREWSA A REVIEW OF THEORETICAL AND PRAGMATIcTsPECTS OF TRAINING PROGAM DESIGN Charlotte ...»
There are, of course, studies that are focused specifically on small group communication and decision making, but these too are concerned with either theoretical descriptions of the nature of small group communication or with long-term patterns of information flow within the group. Thus, they fail on critieria 3 and 4. For example, (Farace et al., 1077), (Leavitt, 1063). (Dewey, 1010), (Bennis and Shepard, 1056), and (Brilhart, 1074) offer models of the process of group decision making which apply at both the immediate and long-term levels. These models are related to the one used in grid management theory which is discussed in Section 2.4.
On a somewhat larger scale than the study of small group behavior, there is a great deal of investigation of management styles, developed at least in part because of the recent interest in the Japanese management approach. Most of these studies attempt to provide a description of long-term managerial styles and strategies ( (McGregor, 1060), (Likert, 1067), (Hersey and Blanchard, 1077), (Ouchi, 1081)). These fail on criterion 4.
The two approaches which have been chosen for more detailed analysis are assertiveness training and grid management training. Assertiveness training, originally developed from behaviorist psychology, is considered here because it has been proposed as a solution to certain types of communication problems in the cockpit, both by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB, 1076), and by NASA researchers who have considered using assertiveness training as a framework which could be tailored to include the results of specific research on communication problems in the cockpit. Grid management has been chosen because it forms the basis of the United Airlines Command/Leadership/Resource Management training, a program which United Airlines feels to be a success, and which has been widely copied by other airlines. Since grid management theory is already being used for training in the aviation context, it is clearly and immediately relevant as a subject of detailed study. We discuss these in turn, beginning with assertiveness training.
2.2 Aflsertiveneas Training This section first defines assertiveness training, and considers its theoretical background and the relation of this background to the actual practice of assertiveness training.
3 then provides a critical assessment of this research, and its social and linguistic assumptions. We may summarize this discussion of assertiveness training by noting that this approach has a number of problems which render it unsuitable for use in
the aviation context:
• Focus on individual communicative style, and individual needs, rather than on effective group communicative functionning.
• Lack of full validation of the effectiveness of assertiveness training methods.
2.2.1 Definition of Assertlvness Training We define assertiveness training to include any technique or program which claims to bring people into a better relation with others by teaching them new techniques of communication or social interaction. The distinguishing characteristic of assertiveness training (as opposed to most psychotherapeutically oriented techniques) is that it attempts to work with behavior only, rather than with assumed underlying causes or with the historical genesis of behavior.
Before discussing assertiveness training methods, let us consider what is meant by assertiveness.
A review of definitions of assertiveness is given by (Rich and Schroeder, 1976):
The early definitions of assertiveness are vague and general. (Wolpe and Lazarus, 1066), for example, defined assertive behavior as "all socially acceptable expressions of rights and feelings* (p. 30). In addition to expressions of anger, irritation, disagreement, and annoyance, positive expressions of joy, praise and love were included. Other general definitions, such as ability for self expression (Lieberman, 1072) and habit of emotional freedom (Lazarus, 1071), have also been offered. In an attempt to provide a more behavioral and transactional definition, (Alberti and Emmons, 1074) defined aesertivenees as Note that in the last few yean, the term ateertiveneee training has began to be challenged by broader terms such as eocial ekillt training and tocial competence training. This change in terminology is based on a change in the underlying model of why people behave anasserthefy, from a psychological trait model.to a social skills model. However, the techniques used have not changed markedly. We use the term aeecrtiventet training since it is still the single most commonly used term This is also true of other behavior modification techniques, such as treatments for addictions, phobias, and sexual dysfunctions; however such techniques are not relevant for the present study.
•behavior which enables a person to act in his own best interest, stand up for himself without undue anxiety, to express his rights without destroying the rights of others* (p. 3). Other attempts to define assertiveness have resulted in operational definitions and identification of specific response classes of assertiveness. (Lazarus, 1073) proposed that assertive behavior be divided into four separate and specific response patterns: (a) the ability to say No, (b) the ability to ask for favors or to make requests (c) the ability to express positive and negative feelings and (d) the ability to initiate, continue, and terminate general conversation. (Galassi et at, 1074) identified three response classes of assertiveness: expression of positive feelings, negative feelings, and self-denial.
Self-denial was defined as the tendency to have exagerated concerns for the feelings of others. Other operational definitions include the ability to express opinions and disagree with opinions contrary to one's own (Lawrence, 1070), the ability to initiate and maintain social interactions (O'Connor, 1060), and the ability to make self-enhancing rather than self-denying responses and decisions in conflictual situations (Goldstein et a/, 1073). (pp. 1081 - 1082) The theoretical background of assertiveness training, like many other forms of behavior modification, is behaviorist psychology, or more specifically, learning theory (Emmons and Albert!, 1083). All works on assertiveness training which give any theoretical basis for it at all (and many do not) cite classic works in behaviorist psychology. Their fundamental assumption is that the primary focus of therapy should be overt, observable behavior. By bringing about a change in the targeted behavior, the person is changed.
Therefore, there is no need to posit underlying structures, such as the unconscious and its mechanisms, or even complex cognitive structures. Such constructions have the status of epiphenomena: they may be present, but in fact they have no effect on behavior, and so they can profitably be ignored.
A very strong statement of this position is given by (Salter, 1040):
The human animal, intelligent as he may be, can no more think his way out of an emotional problem than the monkey in the zoo. He can only be trained out of it. We are no better than our equipment, and our equipment is primitive....
Only the drilling into the human tissues of healthy habits will yield "good* thinking and feeling. We are meat in which habits have taken up residence.
We are a result of the way other people have acted to us. We are the reactions. Having conditioned reflexes means carrying about pieces of past realities, (p. 36) 2.2.2 Relation of Theory and Practice Let us now consider the relation between the underlying theory and the practices actually used in assertiveness training. Although behaviorist psychology is cited as the basis of assertiveness training, it is not at all clear that this claim of atheoretical basis is actually necessary to justify the techniques used. (Emmons and Alberti, 1083) offer the following list of techniques used: journal keeping, record keeping, guided practice, role-reversal, psychodrama, behavior rehearsal, mirroring, modeling, audio, video and verbal feedback, token feedback, flooding, desensitization, covert practice, coaching, self-management, homework, contracting, nonverbal exercises, self-disclosure, small group discussion, group assignments, field trips, films, and selected readings. Clearly, a number of these techniques (such as value clarification and small group discussions) are unrelated to behaviorist psychology, and may indeed be contradictory to its assumptions.
Furthermore, these techniques are employed in many other forms of training which have no explicit behaviorist orientation. For example, the grid management technique that;
forms the basis of United Airlines' training claims General Semantics (Korzybski, 1033) as its theoretical basis (see (Blake and Mouton, 1085), Appendices A and B), a theory that differs radically from behaviorist psychology. Nevertheless, grid management employs many of the same techniques (e.g behavior rehearsal, coaching, etc.).
A similar point is made by (Rathus, 1075) about the combination of assertiveness training
techniques with conventional methods of psychotherapy:
There is no need to see AT [assertiveness training] as being theoretically rooted in any particular school of personality or psychotherapy. It is certainly true that the major credit for the development of AT must be given to men such as Andrew Salter and Joseph Wolpe, and that the large body of literature has been written primarily from the behavioral point of view. However, as this paper has been written in broad, eclectic terminology, so is it possible for therapists who identify with any school to use AT techniques on an empirical basb. The ten techniques presented in this paper may be used as a client's central treatment modality, or they may be used as an adjunct with any other form of treatment, (p. 10) 2.2.3 The Validation of Assertiveness Training Techniques This section discusses attempts to validate the effectiveness of assertiveness training techniques, and the relevance of such validation studies to possible training programs in aviation.
188.8.131.52 Literature on Validation of Aaserthreness Training Techniques Attempts to validate the claims of assertiveness training have lagged behind the explosion of books, articles, and training programs that advocate it. Assertiveness training, like all psychotherapeutic techniques, is difficult to investigate. Although some assertiveness training programs attempt to provide a definition of success in terms of behavioral change, its effects are still difficult to assess. (McFall and Marston, 1970) suggest the
following areas of difficulty:
1. An adequate definition or specificity of the response classes of assertiveness is lacking.
2. The components of assertive behavior have not been identified.
3. Assertiveness training, as typically described, appears to be a complex, unsystematic, and imstandardized procedure that employs a variety of "brand name" (modeling, behavior rehearsal, role playing, etc.) treatment packages in combination.
4. Reliable and objective laboratory and real-life measures of assertive behavior have not been developed.
(Rich and Schroeder, 1076) concur:
Despite a variety of advances in assertiveness training, the major problems identified by (McFall and Marston, 1070) have not been dealt with directly.
Although behavior therapists have paid lip service to situational determinants of behavior, they have treated assertiveness as a trait. Research needs to recognize that different response classes and different situations need to be treated separately. Being able to say No to the boss apparently has little transfer to being able to ask him or her for a raise or the ability to compliment a friend, (p. 1004) (Linehan and Egan, 1070) focus on the fact that the effects of assertive behavior are
As described earlier, the effectiveness of any interpersonal response can be evaluated in terms of its objective effectiveness (in achieving the objectives of the response), its relationship effectiveness (in maintaining the relationship with the other person), and self-respect effectiveness (in maintaining the self-respect of the actor). Promotion of the direct style of interaction in assertive situations is based on the assumption that when individuals state what they want in a clear concise manner, they are more likely to obtain it than if they give an ambiguous, indirect message or, unassertively, say nothing at all. Amazingly, this assumption has no data to support it. Virtually every assertion-training, program currently in existence, however, operates as if it were true. (p. 250) (Galassi et a/., 1081) point out that assertiveness training techniques have not been fully
From our perspective, the most pressing need in social skill outcome research is for demonstrations of generalization of laboratory gains to behavior in the natural environments based on unobtrusive behvioral measures of known reliability and validity. Much of the support for assertion and social skills training has been built around behavioral role-playing tests. To the extent that those tests continue to be shown to possess limited validity, the data generated from them will continue to build only an analogue case for the effectiveness of assertion and social skills training, (pp. 320 - 330) (Emmons and Albert!, 1083) pose this issue in a way directly related to the issue of the
value of training programs for a domain such as aviation: